In March of 2020, the impact of the Coronavirus hit the U.S. with full force. Every department in the construction industry was affected, including, if not especially, Human Resources. Like most businesses, we faced many new challenges due to the pandemic. HR departments across the country struggled, and continue to struggle, to find the proper solutions to the challenges COVID-19 poses.
Challenge: Maintaining CDC and OSHA Guidelines
Safety is the top priority for COMANCO and many other construction companies. Now, more than ever, we are aware of the physical safety of our staff and crews. Organizations like the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released and continue to update guidelines to keep us safe.
However, COVID-19 policies and requirements are regularly updated on a federal and state level. This poses a difficult task for HR, as we have to maintain a system that is often changing.
Challenge: Continuing to manage employees’ safety
Quality in our geosynthetics installations is something we will never compromise on. Other general contractors would agree that it is vital to continue performing to the absolute best of your company’s ability, but while doing so with caution and the intentional safety of the crews.
Without the proper safety measures in place, this could potentially lead to an outbreak on a project, forcing the entire operation to be shut down. One of the most basic functions of Human Resources is workplace safety. Maintaining the employee’s safety and well-being in a time of “normalcy” is enough to manage, but throw in a global pandemic, and you’ve got your hands full.
So, how do we move forward?
Solution: Strengthen the partnership between office and field staff
Companies like COMANCO work across the United States have the difficult task of managing policies throughout each project. Unfortunately, it is not feasible to have an HR representative active on every job site. Therefore, it is up to the field leadership to hold employees accountable to the guidelines set in place by the state, the customer, and the Company.
When HR maintains regular and clear communication with the field staff, there is little room left for error when it comes to procedures and expectations.
Solution: Streamline communication
Whether it’s a policy change or a confirmed case report, efficient communication is more vital than ever. Investing in proper software and processes can make the difference between a safe crew or a sick crew.
Solution: Create an adaptable environment
We have made many improvements to our processes and procedures with all the COVID-19 information and case numbers constantly changing. So, it’s vital we continue to adjust quickly as a department and a Company.
The future is still unpredictable. Human Resources departments have to brace themselves for whatever is ahead, no matter the industry.